Saturday, July 18, 2009


An email from Donn Dears []

It is troubling to see how people use the term “Energy” as in “energy Independence” or “energy needs” when the issues that bedevil America and Europe are three energy delivery issues.

1. The first is the generation and use of electricity.

2. The second is the use of oil for the transportation system.

3. Third is the use of natural gas for heating.

Referring to energy, without identifying the real issues merely obfuscates the discussion. For example, saying that the United States needs to become energy independent conceals the fact that the U.S. is already independent in terms of generating and using electricity. The U.S. is also independent when it comes to using natural gas for heating. It would be better to say that the U.S. needs to achieve “independence from foreign oil”.

Describing the proposed [very expensive] Desertec project “as providing 15% of Europe’s energy needs” isn’t a very helpful description of what it will accomplish. It will not help one iota in solving Europe’s natural gas or oil import problem. It will supply electricity, which Europe could accomplish more economically with coal or nuclear. The CO2 emission debate has distorted the market so that greater emphasis is placed on uneconomic methods for generating electricity.

Similarly in the U.S. the bogus claim is made that wind and solar can achieve energy independence. Wind, solar, hydrokinetics generate electricity … they do not produce oil. Since the U.S. is already independent when it comes to generating electricity the push to produce electricity from wind etc. is caused by a desire to cut CO2 emissions ... which distorts the market.

Unscrupulous politicians hide behind “Energy”. They say wind etc. can achieve energy independence, when, as we have seen above, wind etc. can have no impact on America’s use of oil or natural gas.

It would be much better if everyone stopped using the term “Energy” and described instead the real issue, whether it be generation and usage of electricity or the use of oil for the transportation system or the use of natural gas for heating. This has been a pet peeve of mine because we have allowed politicians to bundle all energy issues under the term “Energy” which has allowed them to mislead people.


An email from Hermann Burchard []

Might not climate fear, apparently partly irrational, come from peak oil fear? The idea that we are about to run out of energy is unbearable, so we castigate ourselves and depict the issue as being really one of man despoiling nature, a sacrilege which must be stopped at all cost. This could be an example of Freudian Displacement, shifting fear from dreaded energy starvation onto another target, abhorred environmental violation. (A revival of Freudian psychology seems to be underway.)

Philip Stott in his hilarious "Mr Lemuel Gulliver Visits Milibandia" manages to cast in a brilliant, comical light the frenzy of climate fear related activities, suggesting an irrational side of the climate movement, a kind of "moronic inferno."

The silliness of peak oil fear, on the other hand, can be seen from the BP Statistical Review of World Energy presented by Mark Finley, Head of BP Energy Analysis, London, on June 27, 2008 at the Baker Institute, Rice University, Houston TX. The event was broadcast on C-SPAN2. What we learn from the BP report is that World Petroleum Reserves have been going up year after year, and not down as peak oil predicted up until recently. See here.

In the Q&A afterwards Mr Finley waved off a question about renewables by repeating and stressing his point that oil reserves are on the rise, not in depletion. He then used the opportunity to remark that discovery of new petroleum occurs in deep waters off the continental margins. Clearly, he meant to convey the new oilbearing strata are different in kind from those familiar to the public.


Yet more of the gradual retreat by the Warmists

The nightmare global warming scenario which provided the plot for a Hollywood blockbuster -- the Atlantic Ocean current that keeps Europe warm shuts down and triggers rapid climate change -- has long worried scientists. But a study published Thursday in the journal Science found it may not occur as quickly as previously feared.

There is evidence that this current has shut down with some regularity in the past -- and sometimes quite rapidly -- in response to large influxes of fresh water from melting glaciers. However, it appears as though the current rate of glacial melt is occurring at a more gradual pace which will "give ecosystems more time to adjust to new conditions," said study co-author Peter Clark, a professor of geosciences at Oregon State University. "Our data still show that current is slowing, and may decline by 30 percent by the end of this century," Clark said. "That's very significant, and it could cause substantial climate change. But it's not as abrupt as some concerns that it could shut down within a few decades."

Clark and his colleagues constructed a massive computer model which simulated the atmospheric and oceanic conditions of the height of the last ice age and the changes which resulted in the Earth's last major global warming some 14,500 years ago. The simulation presented results that are in line with the fossil and geological record and confirms the accuracy of some models of future climate change scenarios.

It found that the "climate dominos" began to fall when the glaciers which blanketed most of North America began to melt, said co-author Zhengyu Liu, director of the Center for Climatic Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Note from Benny Peiser: The results of this climate modelling should be taken with a large pinch of salt. There are significant uncertainties about the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, the basic assumption on which the model is based. For some of these uncertainties see Carl Wunsch's paper


A new paper in Science reports that a careful study of satellite data show the assumed cooling effect of aerosols in the atmosphere to be significantly less than previously estimated. Unfortunately, the assume greater cooling has been used in climate models for years. In such models, the global-mean warming is determined by the balance of the radiative forcings—warming by greenhouse gases balanced against cooling by aerosols. Since a greater cooling effect has been used in climate models, the result has been to credit CO2 with a larger warming effect than it really has.

This question is of great importance to climate modelers because they have to be able to simulate the effect of GHG warming in order to accurately predict future climate change. The amount of temperature increase set into a climate model for a doubling of atmospheric CO2 is called the model's sensitivity. As Dr. David Evans explained in a recent paper: “Yes, every emitted molecule of carbon dioxide (CO2) causes some warming—but the crucial question is how much warming do the CO2 emissions cause? If atmospheric CO2 levels doubled, would the temperature rise by 0.1°, 1.0°, or by 10.0° C?”

The absorption frequencies of CO2 are already saturated, meaning that the atmosphere already captures close to 100% of the radiation at those frequencies. Consequently, as the level of CO2 in the atmosphere increases, the rise in temperature for a given increase in CO2 becomes smaller. This sorely limits the amount of warming further increases in CO2 can engender. Because CO2 on its own cannot account for the observed temperature rise in the past century, climate modelers assume that linkages exist between CO2 and other climate influences, mainly water vapor (for a more detailed explanation of what determines the Global Warming Potential of a gas see my comment “It's not that simple”).

To compensate for the missing “forcing,” models are tuned to include a certain amount of extra warming linked to carbon dioxide levels—extra warming that comes from unestablished feedback mechanisms who's existence is simply assumed. Aerosol cooling and climate sensitivity in the models must balance each other in order to match historical conditions. Since the climate warmed slightly last century the amount of warming must have exceeded the amount of cooling. As Dr. Roy Spencer, meteorologist and former NASA scientist, puts it: “They program climate models so that they are sensitive enough to produce the warming in the last 50 years with increasing carbon dioxide concentrations. They then point to this as ‘proof’ that the CO2 caused the warming, but this is simply reasoning in a circle.”

A large aerosol cooling, therefore, implies a correspondingly large climate sensitivity. Conversely, reduced aerosol cooling implies lower GHG warming, which in turn implies lower model sensitivity. The upshot of this is that sensitivity values used in models for the past quarter of a century have been set too high. Using elevated sensitivity settings has significant implications for model predictions of future global temperature increases. The low-end value of model sensitivity used by the IPCC is 2°C. Using this value results, naturally, in the lowest predictions for future temperature increases. According to the paper “Consistency Between Satellite-Derived and Modeled Estimates of the Direct Aerosol Effect” published in Science on July 10, 2009, Gunnar Myhre states that previous values for aerosol cooling are too high — by as much as 40 percent —implying the IPCC's model sensitivity settings are too high also.


A real choice on climate change: Do nothing

Global efforts to mitigate climate change are resulting in the most ineffectual diplomacy since U.S. Secretary of State Frank Kellogg and French Foreign Minister Aristide Briand tried to end all war with international law-eleven years before Hitler launched World War II.

The fecklessness of climate diplomacy was on full display last week at the Group of Eight summit of industrialized countries in Italy, where the international community simultaneously vowed to limit global warming and disavowed the necessary action to do so.

During the summit, U.S. President Barack Obama convened a Major Economies Meeting of 17 countries responsible for 80 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Together, these countries agreed that they "ought" to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown labeled this "historic" and German Chancellor Angela Merkel called it an "important step." A more apt description of the temperature target is "impossible." Here's why.

As a recent study in the scientific journal Nature notes, global greenhouse gas emissions must fall more than 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 in order to have a 75 percent chance of limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius. According to research compiled by the United States Climate Change Science Program (now the Global Change Research Program), a clearinghouse for global warming science conducted by federal agencies, reducing global emissions by 50 percent below 2000 levels by 2050 would require developing countries to reduce per capita greenhouse gas emissions by 62 percent below business as usual, even if developed countries somehow cut greenhouse gases by 100 percent.

Yet the G8 pledged to reduce emissions "only" 80 percent-from an undefined baseline-by 2050. And before the ink was dry on the summit's climate communiqué, Russian and Canadian officials publically questioned the feasibility of the 80 percent emissions cuts for their countries. Developing countries rejected any limits altogether, refusing to commit to expensive emissions cuts that could jeopardize their number-one priority: poverty reduction.

Clearly, the emissions calculus to reach the 2 degree Celsius target doesn't add up. There are three possible scenarios to bridge this gap between rhetoric and reality.

The first is for everyone to quit. Developing countries have a sovereign right not to act on climate change, and their rapidly growing economies will account for the preponderance of future growth in global emissions, which gives developed countries little reason to limit emissions themselves. As Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi told The New York Times, it makes little sense for the G8 to commit to stringent emissions reductions if "five billion people continue to behave as they have always behaved."

The second scenario is for developed countries to pay trillions of dollars to finance a green energy revolution in developing countries. But this is politically unthinkable: Can anyone sanely imagine the U.S. Congress appropriating hundreds of billions of dollars for China, an economic competitor?

The final possibility is for developed countries to compel developing countries to reduce emissions by taxing the carbon content of their exports. Countries like China depend on export-driven economic growth, so a carbon tariff would surely get their attention, but in a very bad way-retaliation in kind would be almost assured. That would launch a global trade tariff war of the sort that exacerbated the Great Depression. That is the last thing the ailing global economy needs.

Of all three prospects, the smart money is on global inaction. "Doing something" about global warming doesn't come cheap-the International Energy Agency estimates it would cost $45 trillion to halve emissions by 2050-and there is no precedent for international burden sharing of this magnitude for anything short of a world war. Thus, history implies that a global response to global warming is impossible. Current climate diplomacy certainly suggests as much.

That's not a cause for despair. There is ample evidence that the benefits of economic growth unhindered by costly emissions controls surpass the deleterious effects of global warming. According to World Bank estimates, nearly 2 billion people in developing countries rely on dung, wood and charcoal to heat their homes and cook their food. For the impoverished, a coal-fired power plant giving them access to affordable energy would be a blessing. We can afford to let the climate be.



Daniel Rice, manager of the BlackRock Energy & Resources Fund, is the best-performing U.S. equity fund manager of the past decade, according to Morningstar. He's also not afraid to speak his mind, especially when it comes to the subjects of global warming and alternative energy, as revealed in the accompanying video.

Rice paints a "pretty dire picture" of the whole alternative energy industry, with the possible exception of wind, based on the following:

• Global warming patterns have reversed in the past decade, Rice says, citing studies by meteorologist Dr. Judah Cohen, whom BlackRock has on retainer. Ten years is microscopic in geological terms but "you'd better hope global warming is caused by man-made [carbon dioxide] if you're investing in these sectors," he says. "I think that's a huge risk based on some of the evidence that's been coming out."

• Alternative energies are not economical without major government subsidies or a large enough carbon tax. The cap and trade legislation currently being debated is "not enough to do anything," Rice says. "All it does is provide Obama a pass to Copenhagen" where the U.N. is hosting a climate change conference in December.

• More government subsidies for alternative energy could be forthcoming but "governments across the world are being stretched" by the economic crisis, Rice notes. "There's not a lot of excess money, excess credit, [and] not as much risk capital willing to go into these sector."

So unless the global warming patterns reverse and go higher again or the global economy makes a major recovery, Rice believes alternative energies like Exxon's algae fuel initiative will remain very much on the fringe, and investors in the space will face further disappointments.



So you will have to have the time, health and inclination to do a lot of walking even after you have paid a bomb to park your car

Drivers who want to live in an environmentally friendly "eco-town" will have to pay £13,000 for a parking space, Government documents reveal.

The news comes as ministers prepare to unveil the sites for the first ever eco-towns. Four sites in southern and central England which have received backing from their local councils are likely to go ahead to the planning stage - less than half the 10 eco-towns which were first mooted by Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, nearly two years ago.

According to Whitehall guidance on parking in the towns, motorists will be expected to leave their vehicles in car parks on the edge of the towns. The guidance, which has been obtained by the Conservatives, urges "car-free development" which involves "limited parking, separated from the residential areas".

It continues: "A parking space in one of the car parks at the edge of the development must be rented or purchased (at a cost of approximately £12,500 plus a monthly management fee). This cost is entirely separate from the cost of buying or renting a home".



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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